The Carlton Township Board has sent Barry County Administrator Michael Brown a letter notifying him that by unanimous vote, they intend to submit a claim to the county’s insurer, MMRMA, for payments its citizens have made through special assessments to pay for reconstruction of work on the Little Thornapple River Drain.
The administrator’s office has not received the letter as of Thursday, May 18.
The letter, dated April 10, unanimously approved by the board on May 8, said it wants to recover, “past and future charges being mandated to Carlton Township for additional work outside of the scope of the original contract.”
The contract to remove trees along part of the Little Thornapple River Drain by Geiger Excavating in September of 2014 soon led to property owners complaining of trees being cut and left lay, bank erosion, loss of ground cover along the river’s banks, lowered property values and general devastation of the river and their property.
In response, the Intercounty Drain Board stopped the work, and hired Streamside Ecological Services to develop a plan agreeable to the DEQ to repair the damage.
The DEQ rejected the first plan from Streamside, the second, submitted in March of 2016, and is still being negotiated by officials and the DEQ.
With little or no work done on the basic problems along the drain, the drain board has levied $330,000 on property owners in Ionia and Barry County.As of Feb. 7, this year, the drain board has paid $182,286.03 in legal fees to two law firms and $85,315.23 to Streamside.
Carlton Township Supervisor Brad Carpenter did not return calls seeking a comment.
The Barry County Board of Commissioners liability insurance is through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority a self-insurance pool formed by counties in 1980 to provide liability and property coverage to municipal governments.